Cantwell, Klobuchar, Collins, Lummis Call on Telehealth Companies to Protect Patients’ Sensitive Health Data
February 7, 2023
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, today joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to call on the CEOs of three telehealth companies to protect their patients’ sensitive health data following reports the companies are tracking and sharing their customers’ personally identifiable health data with social media platforms for advertising purposes. The reports come despite company promises to prospective patients that their user data, including information about mental health and addiction treatment, will remain confidential.
“Recent reports highlight how your company shares users’ contact information and health care data that should be confidential…” the senators wrote in separate letters to Cerebral Chief Executive Officer Dr. David Mou, Monument Chief Executive Officer Mike Russell and Workit Health Chief Executive Officer Robin Ann McIntosh. “…[T]his information is reportedly sent to advertising platforms, along with the information needed to identify users. This data is extremely personal, and it can be used to target advertisements for services that may be unnecessary or potentially harmful physically, psychologically, or emotionally,”
“Telehealth—an industry valued at over $30 billion -- has become a popular and effective way for many Americans to receive care. One fifth of the U.S. population resides in rural or medically-underserved communities where access to virtual care is vital. This access should not come at the cost of exposing personal and identifiable information to the world’s largest advertising ecosystems,” the senators continued.
Here are the texts of the letters to Cerebral, Monument and Workit Health.